PROVIDENCE – An index of Rhode Island’s leading economic indicators produced by Providence Business News and e-forecasting.com held steady from February to March with a reading of 122.2.
A reading of 100 on the Providence Business News/e-forecasting.com Leading Economic Indicator Index is equivalent to the state’s activity in 2000.
The state leading indicator remained stagnant in March after a revised 0.5 percent increase in February. March marked the first month in seventh consecutive month that the index did not increase.
The economic-indicator index uses nine statistics to forecast the direction of the state’s economy over the next three to six months. Positive numbers signal growth while negative numbers denote contraction.
Four of the nine statistics had positive contributions to the index in March, including: building permits, national stock prices, interest rate spread and the state employment barometer.
Five components made negative contributions to Rhode Island’s economy in March, including: unemployment claims, weekly hours in manufacturing, exports of manufacturers, regional consumer expectations and the national orders index.
In March, Rhode Island’s six-month growth rate – “a signal of turning points” – was 3.1 percent, a decrease from February’s 3.8 percent rate.
By comparison, the long-term annual growth rate for the index was 2 percent, the same as the annual growth rate of the state’s overall economic activity.